I wrote about pruning our marionberry row back on April 1st. Since then, this hedge of “Marion blackberries” which are also known as the “Cabernet of Blackberries” has been greening up and flowering, and is now fruiting. This week we’ve tasted our first juicy berries! They are so much bigger than I’d imagined, some reaching 2 inches long, and slowly ripen to a gorgeous deep purple. They are sweetest when picked just as they give a little when gently pinched.
Marionberries were named for Marion County, Oregon, and were developed in the 1940s at Oregon State U. as a cross between two blackberry hybrids. In the 1950s they became available to the public. The marionberry’s original roots can be traced to blackberries, raspberries, and dewberries.
Our long row has required further cutting back as its supremely prickly canes overreach their boundaries and impede both mowing and walking nearby. I lop off a couple of trailing vines almost weekly.
Picking these marionberries requires long sleeves and gardening gloves. Donning these is definitely worth the effort because the berries are lush and sweet and practically shout “BLACKBERRY!” when they burst on the tastebuds. So yummy.